Adrian Beltre is a Hall of Famer in waiting. A member of the 400 Home Run Club. The man with the most hits of any Dominican Republic-born player ever. One of the ten best fielding third basemen in the history of the sport. A man that manager Jeff Banister said was the toughest human being he’s ever seen. And the face of the franchise.
Needless to say, third base is the last position the Rangers would be looking to fill with free agents this off-season.
Here is the list of available free agents for the other twenty-nine teams, and their ages:
Joaquin Arias (31)
Mike Aviles (35)
Gordon Beckham (29)
David Freese (33)
Conor Gillaspie (28)
Maicer Izturis (35)
Casey McGehee (32)
Mark Reynolds (32)
Juan Uribe (37)
Adrian Beltre will turn 37 when the season stars next year. I will go out on a limb and say that when Adrian Beltre turns 87, he will be a better option than the list of available free agents above will be next season.
Thank the baseball gods that the Rangers don’t need a third baseman this year. Also thank them that the Rangers have the best one in baseball.
Every year we hear that Adrian Beltre’s best years are behind him, that he will slow down, that he’s getting old. And every year, Adrian Beltre seems to get better. The rumor that he is an animatronic machine has yet to be disproven.
I would say Adrian Beltre is in the top four of all-time favorite players to ever wear a Rangers uniform. Nolan Ryan, Pudge Rodriguez, Michael Young, Adrian Beltre. And maybe Tanner Scheppers.
What Beltre accomplished when he came back from his thumb injury was remarkable. Then, when you realize his thumb never healed, that he had to have surgery after the season, describing that takes words that are twelve levels above remarkable. Those otherworldly numbers he put up to end the year? Those were done without a thumb.
Adrian simply MacGyvered his thumb and played through. He had 18 RBIs in August. Then followed that up with 38 in September. That is not a typo. Extend that to a full season, and you are talking 228 RBIs.
How did the Rangers go from worst to first? How did the Rangers come back from the dead after the trade deadline? Sure, some shrewd trades by Jon Daniels. But make no mistake about it. It was Adrian Beltre.
With a glove, Beltre was as good as ever. The Sabermetrics standards that nerds swear by and nobody else has any idea what they mean had him as the best fielder in the major leagues.
The field of free agent third basemen isn’t really worth wasting time hitting fingers to keyboard about. And in the system, the future of third base is supposed to belong to Joey Gallo. I will believe that when I see that.
If the Rangers hope to go anywhere in the near future, though, Adrian Beltre is going nowhere.
He is the reason to go to Rangers games.